Swiss mayoral candidate ‘pro-Hamas, pro-Iran’

Media in Switzerland accuse Green Party politician of anti-Semitism, denying Israel's right to exist.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
February 20, 2013 00:28
3 minute read.
Swiss Green Party politician Geri Muller.

Geri Muller 370. (photo credit: www.parlament.ch)

 
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BERLIN – Swiss Jewish leaders and the Simon Wiesenthal Center sharply criticized MP Geri Müller, a Green Party politician running for mayor of Baden, because he supports close ties with Hamas and engages in pro-Iranian regime activities.

“We criticize Müller’s closeness to anti-Semites and to Islamic Hamas, which denies Israel’s right to exist,” Jonathan Kreutner, the general secretary of Switzerland’s 18,000-member Jewish community, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “His relationship to the Iranian regime, as well as his playing down of Iran’s efforts to go nuclear is also problematic, as Iran has repeatedly propagated the [idea of the] destruction of Israel. We also severely criticize his participation in a demonstration several years ago, in which the Star of David was compared with a swastika and he compared the situation in the Gaza Strip with the Holocaust.”

Müller’s sentiments were the subject of the Bern-based Basler Zeitung’s commentary by Dominik Feusi on Saturday.

Feusi issued a stinging response, saying “there is anti-Semitism on the political Left. In Switzerland this anti-Semitism is, above all, Green, as the statements from Müller demonstrate.”

He argued the language of the Swiss Green party “reveals a deeply anchored hate toward Israel and Jews, and the representative examples are from the Green Party in Switzerland.”

Feusi cites Müller’s comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany, and Müller belittling Hamas rockets fired on Israel as merely “metal bullet casings.”

Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal center’s director for international relations, told the Post that Müller had welcomed a Hamas delegation to Switzerland in the past year. He added that an election victory by Müller would lead to “greater power for jihadism in the city, and the Jewish community would be at risk and this could have a domino effect across Switzerland.”

Samuels continued, “Either one is naïve, or one is devious in offering an invitation to terrorists,” adding that Müller “may be an ideological member” of Hamas.

He warned that the fate of the Baden Jewish community, which has a membership of 130 and has been in existence since 1859, “will be exactly the same as that of the tiny Jewish community of Malmö, Sweden.”

Many Swedish Jews have fled Malmö because the Social Democratic Mayor Ilmar Reepalu has failed to protect the community against radical Islamic violence and urged the city’s Jews to distance themselves from support of Israel.


Baden – a city of 18,000 – will vote in a mayoral election on March 3.

Last year Müller, invited a delegation of Hamas politicians, including spokesman Mushir al-Masri, to the National Palace, which houses the Swiss parliament, and presented Masri with a welcome gift.

Asked if the Green Party considers Hamas to be a terror organization and about the party’s assessment of Müller’s positions, Regula Rytz, co-president of the Green Party, wrote the Post by email that “a politically motivated campaign against Mr. Müller” is taking place.

“The accusations against the Greens are untenable and absurd,” she said, adding the Greens have always and continuously condemned anti-Semitism and worked for equality for the Jewish community.”

Rytz declined Post queries to comment on whether the Greens view Hamas as a terror entity and on the accusations of modern anti-Semitism leveled against the Greens.

Post email queries to Müller were not returned.

Swiss media have publicized reports over the past week about Müller’s hostility toward Jews and Israel.

Writing in the Limmattaler Zeitung in northwest Switzerland, the region covering Baden, journalist Gieri Cavelty delved into a long expose of Müller's alleged hatred of Israel, anti-Americanism, and advocacy for Hamas.

The report, titled, "Müller, Hamas and the Jews" quoted a member of the local Jewish community who wished to remain anonymous for fear of physical attacks, saying that, "If Geri Müller became mayor, Baden would be menaced with becoming a place that attracts anti-Semites and Islamists."

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